Runners everywhere received good news this month in the form of a new study which suggests taking to the streets, even for short amounts of time, can make you live longer.
Australian research published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed 14 papers, which examined the health of over 232,000 people for between 5.5 and 35 years. Staggeringly, they discovered that almost any amount of running - even less than 50 minutes per week - was linked to a 27 per cent drop in risk of early death.
More specifically, they also found that it was associated with a 30 per cent reduction in risk of death from heart disease, and a 23 per cent reduction in risk of death from cancer.
And you don’t need to push the pace either. Participants who ran slower than 6mph, or 10 minutes per mile, still reaped the benefits in a comparable way to those undertaking an increased volume.
The findings should give those not involved in cardiovascular exercise even more motivation to lace up their trainers and get out the door. Professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University Daniel Lieberman was
unsurprised by the results as he says humans evolved to run.
“One of the best ways to avoid having to see a doctor,” he explains “is to stay physically active.”
The book Born To Run by Christopher McDougall lays out a similar theory that our ancestors were conditioned to chase down prey over many miles, and as a result we can gain many physical and mental health benefits from distance running.
“You grow more capillaries and small arteries,” Lieberman continues, “and that helps lower your blood pressure.”